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US-funded child care aid nearing reality with Biden bill | Govt. & Politics



The child care subsidies would attempt to guarantee that most Americans don’t spend more than 7% of their income on child care.

And while Congress approved the Family and Medical Leave Act nearly 30 years ago to guarantee time off, the U.S. remains among a handful of wealthy countries that do not offer paid time off to care for children or sick loved ones. Biden’s bill would change that.

All told, the federal government’s new programs for paid parental leave, child care and an expanded child tax credit “would be pretty major, if not landmark, change for social policy and expanding its reach into the depths of how families cope in the modern economy,” said Sarah Binder, a political science professor at George Washington University.

Long before child care started eating up a sizable share of a family’s income and the COVID-19 crisis pushed women from the workforce to care for kids at home, Congress tried to lower the costs of child raising in the U.S.

Some 80 years ago, Rep. Mary Norton of New Jersey — she was known as “Battling Mary,” the first female Democrat elected to the House — was instrumental in securing money for child care centers during World War II as mothers went off to work. But the program was terminated soon after the war ended and never resurrected.

A quarter of a century later, Nixon invoked both communism and traditional female roles when he vetoed bipartisan legislation to federally fund child care, saying it was “radical” and had “family‐weakening implications.”



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